Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2018/19

The Code 2018/19 cover


This Code is prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which have been adopted as the basis for public sector accounting in the UK. The 2018/19 Code has been developed by CIPFA/LASAAC and has effect for financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2018.

CIPFA/LASAAC has issued an update for the Code of Practice 2018/19. An email with information on how to obtain the update was sent to all subscribers and purchasers of this publication. If you need this update urgently, please contact




Apr 2018



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Local authorities in the UK are required to keep their accounts in accordance with ‘proper (accounting) practices’.

This is defined, for the purposes of local government legislation, as meaning compliance with the terms of the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom (the Code). The 2018/19 Code has been developed by CIPFA/LASAAC and has effect for financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2018.

The Code specifies the principles and practices of accounting required to prepare financial statements which give a true and fair view of the financial position and transactions of a local authority. The Code is updated annually.

This 2018/19 edition of the Code introduces two substantial new financial reporting standards and amended, or reporting requirements in a number of areas, in particular:

  • A fully revised chapter seven (Financial Instruments) to reflect the Code’s adoption of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. The Code will adopt the new classification and measurement requirements for financial assets, the new expected credit loss impairment model and new disclosure requirements as a consequence of the adoption of the standard. There have also been consequential amendments to section 3.4 to reflect the amendments to the Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement as a result of the adoption of the standard.
  • Amendments have also been made to a renumbered section 5.2 (Debtors) of the Code to introduce the incurred loss model for the impairment of non-contractual debts principally council tax, non-domestic rates and district rates and including relevant disclosure requirements as a consequence of the expected credit loss model for impairment being introduced by the adoption of IFRS 9.
  • A fully revised section 2.7 (Revenue from Contracts with Service Recipients) to introduce IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers. The Code will adopt the comprehensive recognition framework and disclosure requirements under IFRS 15. There are also consequential amendments to sections:

­    5.1 (Inventories), to reflect the changes to the measurement of work in progress

­    5.2 (Work in Progress (Construction Contracts)) has been withdrawn as a result of the withdrawal of IAS 11 Construction Contracts

­    5.3 (renumbered to 5.2) (Debtors), to reflect the new definition of income, and

­    8.1 (Creditors), again to reflect the new definition of income.

  • To coincide with the introduction of IFRS 15 additional guidance has been included on the principles of revenue recognition in section 2.1 (Concepts).
  • Updates to section 3.4 (Presentation of Financial Statements) to reflect the disclosure requirements under IAS 7 Statement of Cash Flows: Disclosure Initiative.
  • Section 3.4 has also been augmented to clarify the reporting requirements for debtors and creditors following removal of the disclosure requirements for the analysis of debtors and creditors in sections 5.2 (Debtors) and 8.1 (Creditors) across public sector organisations, with a reminder in sections 5.2 and 8.2 of the general reporting requirements for those balances. Section 3.4 includes a number of clarifications on the segmental reporting arrangements in the Code.

The Code applies formally in Great Britain to local authorities, fire authorities (England and Wales), joint committees and joint boards of principal authorities. In Northern Ireland it applies to all district councils. The Code also applies to police and crime commissioners and other police bodies, as relevant.

In England and Wales, the Code constitutes proper (accounting) practice under the terms of section 21(2) of the Local Government Act 2003. In Scotland, the Code constitutes proper accounting practice under section 12 of the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003. In Northern Ireland, the status and authority of the Code derives from regulation (2) the Local Government (Capital Finance and Accounting) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011, the Local Government (Accounts and Audit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and through the relevant accounts direction issued by the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland).

The Code is available in hard copy and online.

The digital, online version is available as both searchable HTML and a bookmarked downloadable PDF of the publication that can be shared throughout your organisation.

Details of licensing arrangements for other categories of purchaser, which includes those organisations operating shared service arrangements, are available from CIPFA’s Publications Department.